What does “practice ready” mean?
Being a “practice-ready” lawyer means more than simply knowing the substantive rules of professional responsibility. A lawyer must be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, clients, judges, other lawyers and parties involved in the representation.
The STEPPS Program provides students with the opportunity to develop communication skills in a safe and supportive environment. Students in the STEPPS Program complete a variety of written projects as well as a variety of video recorded lawyering performances, including:
- A memorandum to a senior partner
- An initial client interview regarding potential litigation
- An advice letter to a client
- A counseling session with a client
- A motion to a court, including evidentiary exhibits, afidavits, and declarations
- An interview with a client on a transactional matter
- A negotiation session with another lawyer
- A draft of a binding contract based on a term sheet
In addition to communication skills, new lawyers must understand the norms and values inherent in the legal profession. These include the abilities to reflect and improve, to work on a team, to solve problems creatively, to adopt a preventive approach to lawyering, and to understand the importance of pro bono publico service.
Finally, the STEPPS Program provides practical training in areas such as case management, time management, and billing practices.